Things to Do in Granada: The 15 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
You’re going to visit Granada during your trip to Andalucia and you’re looking for the best things to do?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay, i have prepared this guide of the best things to do in Granada and its surroundings.
In addition to the must-see attractions and points of interest, I will also give you all my best tips as well as my list of the best accommodations in town depending on your budget.
And you will see, in Granada, in addition to the famous Alhambra, there are a lot more places to visit!
So, what are the best things to do in Granada? Where to stay?
- Things to Do in Granada: The 15 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
- Visit Granada: the 15 Must-See attractions
- 1. The Alhambra
- 2. The Albaicin neighborhood
- 3. Granada miradors
- 4. The Sacromonte
- 5. Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel
- 6. Attend a flamenco show
- 7. Carmen de los Martires garden
- 8. San Juan de Dios basilica
- 9. Bib-Rambla square and the Alcaiceria market
- 10. Granada ancient Arab baths
- 11. Cartuja monastery
- 12. Granada Science Park
- The 3 best things to do around Granada
- How many days to visit Granada?
- 1 day in Granada
- 2 days in Granada
- 3 or 4 days in Granada
- Where to stay in Granada
- Where to eat in Granada
- How to go to Granada?
- Granada tourist map
- You’re traveling to Andalusia? These articles will help you!
- Visit Granada: the 15 Must-See attractions
Visit Granada: the 15 Must-See attractions
1. The Alhambra
The Alhambra is the most visited monument in Granada, and even in Spain!
This UNESCO World Heritage site, also called “Red Palace”, was built in the 13th century by Moorish rulers to serve as their residence.
The whole site covers more than 140,000 square meters and includes 3 must see parts:
- The Nasrid Palaces, notably the Comares Palace (former palace of the sultan) and the Palace of the Lions with its famous Court of the lions and its 124 marble columns.
- The Generalife used to be the sultans’ summer residence. You can walk around and enjoy the sumptuous flower gardens with their basins and fountains.
- The Alcazaba is a 11th century military fortress. It’s the oldest part of the Alhambra and it served as a basis for all construction afterwards. You can access several towers and enjoy the view over the city.
You probably already know about it: the Alhambra is THE tourist attraction to visit in Granada. Allow at least 3 hours for the visit.
As a lot of people want to visit the Alhambra, there is a daily visitor quota.
This means you should book your skip the line tickets for the Alhambra as soon as possible. Ideally, you should do it at least weeks or even months in advance during high season!
Several options are available: guided tours, entrances with audio guide or night tours. You can choose what suits you the best, but in any case make sure that your ticket includes a visit to the Nasrid palaces (not all tickets do!). In my opinion, it’s the best part of the Alhambra.
If you want to visit the entire Alhambra with a guide (the best option to make the most of your visit!), you can buy your ticket here.
If you want to visit more Granada attractions beside the Alhambra, you should definitely buy the Granada Card.
It’s the best city pass to visit Granada and it’s valid for 3 consecutive days.
This pass costs 49€ and gives you access to most of 15 best things to do in Granada I talk about in this guide:
- The Alhambra: visit the Nasrid palaces, the Generalife and the Alcazaba with a skip the line ticket
- The Cathedral
- The Royal Chapel
- Cartuja monastery
- San Jeronimo monastery
- The Science Park
Another great thing: the city pass also includes free public transports! Simply click the button below to purchase it:
2. The Albaicin neighborhood
During your trip to Granada, you should definitely go on a stroll in the Albaicin neighborhood. It’s located on top of a hill, right across the Alhambra.
With its paved narrow streets and whitewashed houses, it’s one of the most authentic and charming districts of the city.
As it’s Granada’s former Arab neighborhood, you’ll find plenty of stores in a souk style market. It’s the perfect place to find oriental products such as spices or dry fruits. There are also many restaurants in the area.
The best things to see in the Albaicin neighborhood of Granada:
- El Banuelo, more details below
- The San Nicolas church, at the center of the neighborhood
- The Dar-al-Horra palace, a Moorish palace built in the 15th century
- The corral del Carbon and its handicraft shops
- The plaza Nueva where the Royal Chancellery is located
- The Ana church and its minaret
- The puertas de la Murallas, The 4 entry gates of the neighborhood
3. Granada miradors
Here is another cool thing to do in Granada: stop by the miradors and enjoy the views over the city and the Alhambra!
There are a few, the most famous one being the mirador de San Nicolas, located in the Albaicin neighborhood. It offers a stunning view over the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada in the background.
In the same area, you can also go to the mirador de San Cristobal. It’s located next to the church of the same name.
Another mirador worth stopping by is the mirador de San Miguel Alto. It offers a lovely scenic view over the Alhambra and is less crowded than the San Nicolas one.
4. The Sacromonte
Let’s continue to explore Granada and go to the Sacromonte neighborhood.
It’s located North-East of Albaicin, on Valparaiso hill.
This former gipsy neighborhood is famous for its troglodyte houses, the “cuevas”. Today they’ve been rearranged and some of them host flamenco dance shows, the ancestral traditional dance of the gypsies.
To learn more about the history and traditions of the Sacromonte neighborhood, you should visit the “Cuevas del Sacromonte museum”. You can buy your tickets here.
For more information about prices and opening hours, you can visit the official website.
Another great thing to do is to go on a guided tour of the Sacromonte Abbey and its catacombs. From there you can enjoy a beautiful view over the Alhambra, the Albaicin and the Sacromonte.
5. Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel
The cathedral is clearly a must-see in Granada!
Catholic kings decided to build this cathedral dedicated to the Virgin of the Incarnation during the 16th century. However, it took nearly 200 years to be completed! You can clearly see it when you will visit, there is an architectural mix of renaissance, baroque and Gothic style.
You can of course also visit the interior of Granada Cathedral: you’ll see several chapels and two 18th century pipe organs.
You can’t really visit Granada without also going to see the Royal Chapel (“Capilla Real” in Spanish).
It’s right next to the cathedral but it’s a separate visit. The Royal Chapel was built during the 15th century to serve as a burial place for Spanish monarchs.
Inside, you’ll find a crypt, the tombs of a few Catholic kings as well as a museum. Audio guides are available for the visit.
You can find more information on the Cathedral official website.
The Granada Card includes access to the cathedral and Royal Chapel.
You can also choose to go on a guided tour of the cathedral and the Royal Chapel. It lasts 2 hours and you can book it here.
6. Attend a flamenco show
If you ask me what to do in Granada in the evening, I’d tell you to go see a flamenco show, it’s such a typical Spanish activity!
Granada, considered as the birthplace of flamenco is probably the best place to attend such an art performance, especially its more traditional form: the Zambra.
As I was telling you above, the Sacromonte neighborhood is where most of the shows are taking place. The cuevas have been rearranged as (small) performance halls.
If you want to book a 75 min long traditional flamenco show in a gipsy troglodyte house, you need to book your tickets here. The shows are taking place in one of the most famous cuevas in Granada: la Cuevas Los Tarentos.
There’re also several other “tablaos” (bars with shows) in Granada offering flamenco shows in the evening:
- The Jardines de Zoraya, where you can also have dinner. You need to book a table here.
- The Upsetter with shows every night except on Tuesdays.
- Venta El Gallo, in the Sacromonte
- La Cueva de la Rocio
- Le Chien andalou (The Andalusian dog) for a less touristy atmosphere
- La Pena Flamenca La Plateria, one the oldest in Spain. Shows on Thursday nights.
7. Carmen de los Martires garden
Looking for some calm and greenery in Granada?
The you should go for a walk in Carmen de los Martires garden. You’ll see several types of gardens:
- The French garden and its pond
- The British garden with its 3-floors fountain
- The Nasrid patio and its maze
- The lake
It’s a very beautiful and well-maintained park with lovely fountains and patios. You can even have a picnic with your children there and take a small break from all the visits.
Entrance to the park is free, but it closes everyday from 14:00 to 18:00 (it’s however open all day during weekends).
8. San Juan de Dios basilica
The basilica of San Juan de Dios is dedicated to the patron saint of hospitals and nurses: John of God.
From the outside, the basilica looks pretty simple, however its interior is really breathtaking! A good chunk of the walls, pillars and ceilings are covered with gold and there are many paintings and wood sculptures to gaze at.
There is also a large pipe organ and a stunning altar.
A visit with audio guide included will cost you 4€. The basilica is open Monday-Saturday 10:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00.
9. Bib-Rambla square and the Alcaiceria market
While in Granada, why not go shopping a bit?
The best place to go shopping in Granada is around Bib-Rambla square. There’re also plenty of coffee shops there to take a break and enjoy delicious chocolate churros.
All around the square you’ll find lively shopping streets with many store (local and international brands).
If you’re planning to buy some souvenirs, you should head to Alcaiceria market (not far from Bib-Rambla), it’s the big souk of Granada with souvenirs for everyone. Ceramics, colored glass lamps, magnets, postcards and jewellery, you will for sure find something to bring back home.
10. Granada ancient Arab baths
While in Granada, you should go see “El Banuelo”, the oldest and best preserved ancient Arab baths in Andalucia.
As they were often perceived as places of debauchery by the Christians, most of them were destroyed when they reconquered Granada. This makes Granada ancient Arab bath really unique!
The Granada public baths were built in the 11th century, during the Moorish period. People went there to wash themselves of course, but also to socialize and conduct business.
During your visit, you’ll discover 3 rooms: the cold room used as a changing room, the tepid room for massages, and the hot room with the big baths. Don’t forget to look up at the vaults pierced with octagonal or star shaped holes.
11. Cartuja monastery
Let’s continue this Granada guide with the Cartuja monatesry, located on a hill about 3km North from the city center.
Its construction started in the 16th century and lasted 3 centuries. It was home to the monks of the Carthusian Order, one of the oldest and strictest Christian order. They lived a recluse life: prayers, vow of silence and fast.
With its mix of baroque and renaissance style, it’s considered one of the most beautiful monastery of Andalucia and Spain. The church interior is richly decorated, it’s very impressive!
Entrance to the monastery is included in the Granda Card so you should go check it out!
12. Granada Science Park
And now, what about a great thing to do in Granada with your family?
If you’re visiting Granada with your children, you should go to the Science Park, located about 15min walking from the city center. You can also take the bus to get there.
You have probably never heard of it and yet, it’s the most visited museum in Andalucia! In this 70,000 square meters museum, you’ll learn everything about planet earth and the human body in a fun and interactive way. There is also a planetarium.
You can also visit its botanical garden, butterfly greenhouse, and even a 50m high observation tower with a viewing terrace.
It’s the best activity to do with children in Granada, and it’s included in the Granada Card!
The 3 best things to do around Granada
After visiting Granada’s main tourist attractions, you should explore the city’s surroundings. There are several cities and interesting places to visit in the area.
13. The Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada is located only 50min driving from Granada.
During wintertime, this mountain range is ideal for skiing. The most famous spots are around Monachil, Pradollano and Borreguiles. There’s usually snow between December and April.
During the rest of the year, the Sierra Nevada is a great place to go hiking (there are numerous hiking paths). You can also do many more activities such as mountain biking, climbing or paragliding.
Not feeling like renting a car to go there? No problem! You can go on a day-tour from Granada.
You’ll go discover the Sierra Nevada in a 4WD vehicle during 6 hours. The landscapes are breathtaking and the guide is really good!
To read more about this trip and book it, you should go to this website.
It’s definitely one of the best things to do around Granada!
The city of Malaga is located 1h40 away from Granada.
To visit Granada, it’s very likely that you fly in and out from Malaga, the closest airport. So you can take some time to visit the city at the beginning or at the end of your stay in Granada.
Malaga is a famous Andalusian coastal resort so you have to go to the beach there!
There are also many museums in the city:
- Picasso Birthplace museum (buy your ticket here): where he was born in 1881.
- The Pompidou Centre for contemporary art.
- Malaga Carmen Thyssen Museum: with its extensive collection of Spanish and Andalusian paintings
- The Russian Art Museum: offers a collection of Russian art pieces in an old tobacco factory.
It’s the biggest city to visit around Granada.
For more information about the best things to do in Malaga, you should read my article: Visit Malaga: the definitive guide.
Allow 2h15 by car or 2h45 by bus to get there.
You can also go on a nice walk to see the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, the Jewish quarter or the Roman bridge.
You will find every information you need to visit Cordoba in my article: The 15 best things to do in Cordoba.
Seville isn’t that close to Granada (2h40 driving), however, it’s a major city to visit during your trip to Andalucia.
There’re many places to visit there:
- Seville Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also find Cristopher Columbus’ gravestone there.
- The Giralda and its scenic view over the city
- The Alcazar, a palace with sumptuous decoration
- Santa Cruz neighborhood where all the tourist sites, stores and restaurants are located.
- The stunning Plaza de España
- Maria Luisa park
You can find detailed information about Seville in my article: The 15 best things to do in Seville.
How many days to visit Granada?
2 days are enough to visit most of Granada’s point of interests I talk about in this article
If you want to visit attractions that are bit further away like the Cartuja monastery or the Science Park, you should spend 3 days in Granada. You can also spend more time in town to explore the city’s surroundings.
As I told you about in the part about the Alhambra, don’t forget to get the Granada Card for your trip to Granada.
This pass is valid for 3 consecutive days and gives you access to:
- The Alhambra
- The Cathedral
- The Royal Chapel
- The Cartuja monastery
- San Jeronimo monastery
- The Science Park
It’s the best way to visit Granada and save money. It also features free public transports! The pass costs 49€ per adult et 15.50€ per child between 3-11 years old.
You must book it in advance, especially to make sure you’ll have skip the line tickets for the Alhambra!
1 day in Granada
If you’re visiting Granada on foot in a day, here’s the most optimized itinerary:
- Start by visiting the Alhambra. It’s best to be there right when it opens. The visit will take the entire morning.
- Lunch break
- Go for a walk in the Sacromonte and visit the Cuevas museum and even the Abbey if you feel like it.
- Continue your walk in the Albaicin neighborhood
- Go to the mirador de San Nicolas to enjoy the sunset
- Attend a Flamenco show
2 days in Granada
If you’re in Granada for 2 days, take the 1 day itinerary and add:
- Visit the Basilica of San Juan de Dios
- Discover the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel
- Lunch break around the Plaza Bib-Rambla
- Stop by the Alcaiceria market
- Visit the ancient Arab baths, the entrance ticket also includes the Casa Horno and the Dar-al-Horra Palace
- At sunset time, go up the mirador de San Cristobal or the mirador de San Miguel.
3 or 4 days in Granada
For 3 days in Granada, follow the previous itineraries for the 2 first days.
And for your 3rd day, you can go see:
- The Cartuja monastery
- Carmen de los Martires garden for a nice picnic
- The Science Park for a fun afternoon!
If you’re not interested in these attractions and would rather explore Granada’s surroundings, you can also go for a day tour in the Sierra Nevada.
Another option, especially if you plan to spend 4 or 5 days in Andalucia is to go to Malaga, Cordoba or Seville!
Where to stay in Granada
- Granada Inn Backpackers: Hostel located 10min away from the Cathedral and 20min from the Alhambra. One bed in a dorm starting from 16€ per night, breakfast included. Best features: the beautiful patio, the location, the very friendly staff.
- Hotel Universal: Located 400m from the Cathedral and 700m from the Albaicin neighborhood. Clean and comfortable double room starting from 65€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: the friendly staff, the central location close to stores and restaurants. It’s my favorite hotel in Granada for its amazing value for money!
- Granada Five Senses Rooms & Suites: Located on Gran Via avenue, 200m away from the Cathedral. Design and modern room starting from 100€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the rooftop pool, the rooms decoration, the generous breakfast.
- Alhambra Palace: This 5 stars hotel is located 10min walking from the Alhambra or the Albaicin neighborhood, next to the Carmen de Los Martires garden. Cozy and spacious room starting from 200€, with an additional breakfast for 19€. Its best features: the Moorish-inspired decoration, the splendid view over the Alhambra from the terrace, the overall comfort. It’s my favorite hotel for a romantic gateway in Granada!
- Parador de Granada: This luxury hotel is located within the Alhambra itself! The rooms are a mix of modern design with touches of antiques elements, starting from 420€ per night, with an additional breakfast for 21€. What I loved: The exceptional location, the overall atmosphere, very helpful staff, the restaurant with a view over the Generalife. This is the best hotel for a luxury stay in Granada!
Where to eat in Granada
- Bar Los Diamantes: There are 5 of them just in Granada. They’re known to be the best place to eat tapas. It’s a very popular place so you should try to be there early to get a table.
- El Trillo Restaurante: located in the Albaicin neighborhood. The Spanish dishes are delicious, generous and always with a nice twist to the traditional recipe. The terrace offers a beautiful view over the Alhambra. You must book a table!
- El Quinteto: Located close to the plaza Bib-Rambla. This restaurant offers delicious traditional dishes with a touch of modernity. They use high quality ingredients and the staff is very friendly.
- Mesón el Cordobes de Jose Peregrina: Located a bit far from the city center, on calle Artesano Molero. It’s the perfect place to eat one the best paella in the city with, of course, a glass of sangria!
How to go to Granada?
There is only a domestic airport in Granada.
To go to Granada during your road trip in Andalucia, it’s better to fly to:
- Malaga: allow 1h40 driving, or 1h45 by bus to reach Granada.
- Seville: it takes about 2h45 driving and 3h by bus to get there.
Flight prices to Andalucia vary greatly, so it is a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner. You will be sure to get the best price!
On the results page, don’t hesitate to compare several websites to ensure that no fees are added to the final rates.
Granada tourist map
To help you get around in the city, I have created for you a tourist map of Granada, listing all the must see attractions and points of interest in Granada and its surroundings I have talked about in this article. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow on it.
And you, what do you plan to visit during your trip to Granada?
Andalusia travel Guides
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Lonely Planet Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Snapshot Andalusia guide on Amazon.com
You’re traveling to Andalusia? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Spain: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.
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